25 April 2024

Emerald Anglicans bake extra Christmas cheer for families doing it hard

St Mark’s parishioner Janice Winter gets the baking underway. Picture: supplied.

Jenan Taylor

7 December 2022

Disadvantaged families in the Dandenong Ranges are set to get a little help with grocery costs and an extra treat from Anglican parishioners this Christmas.

Members of St Mark’s Emerald will be giving people in need supermarket vouchers accompanied by a batch of fresh, homemade goodies in lieu of gift hampers.

Senior minister the Reverend Andrew Bowles said the church had decided on the idea because they’d found that it gave people more flexibility to get the items that they needed to make Christmas enjoyable for their families.  

 Mr Bowles said another local church already had a food store for people experiencing hardship, so St Mark’s had decided to broaden its offerings.

He said his parishioners had put money towards the vouchers through a Melbourne Anglican Benevolent Society fund, but had also decided that people would find it more meaningful to receive something a bit more Christmassy than a card with a voucher.

“So our members are going to make some treats that we can give as a tangible token, as well,” Mr Bowles said.

Parishioner Janice Winter was among the members preparing to bake some goodies.  

Read more: The Anglican food relief program that’s run by the people it helps

She said it was lovely to give people something unexpected and a bit more targeted than a hamper.

“I’m not saying that the hamper wasn’t a good idea. It’s lovely. But the voucher enables somebody to buy the very things that they need, otherwise they might have things they can’t use,” Ms Winter said.

She said she was thinking of whipping up rocky road as well as almond bread, and perhaps a slice. “They’re the kind of things you’d regard as a treat, but which are able to keep for some time,” she said.

Ms Winter said she was conscious of not supplying more confectionaries than were wanted, but she didn’t mind who they were given to if there were too many.

“I think I’ll do plenty, because we don’t know what size the families are,” she said. “I’ve got my mind on being generous rather than not, so I might make a double batch of rocky road.”

Although she loved baking, Ms Winter said that now she was aged in her mid-seventies, it was hard to stay keen about cooking sometimes.

But because her family had grown up and moved out, making the goodies was a lovely opportunity to spread some cheer, she said.

She expected to be baking on Friday and Saturday so that when she took them to the church this coming Sunday, they would still be at their best.

Mr Bowles said the voucher and treats would go to families that local school chaplains had identified as being in need, as well other disadvantaged members of the community.

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